It was just about eight months ago when we first started talking about the lost XCOPY works, and last week I toiled through troves of flashing imagery to deliver you the XCOPY – The Definitive Collection. At least it was the definitive collection, up until @giaset told us otherwise. On April 10th, @giaset discovered a hidden treasure trove lying in plain sight.
Who are you, and what is your background in web3/NFTs?
My name is Gianni Settino, and I’m a developer who’s been building in the space since 2017 (my first smart contract allowed people to bet on the Mayweather/McGregor fight). I cam across CryptoKitties in December 2017 and for a while I was running bots to breed kitties at scale. That got me into NFTs, so I built and launched a project called CryptoStrikers in early 2018 with my partner Benn. The project had decent success (XCOPY was an early user!) and we ended up selling the company and moving on to other things – although we still both follow the space closely.
How long have you been a fan of XCOPY?
I remember him doing artwork for Brian Flynn’s Non-Fungible Weekly back in 2018 and I’ve always admired his work, although I’ve never owned any pieces. What really stands out to me is just how long he’s been in the space (going all the way back to 2015 with some of his pieces on Ascribe), and it’s awesome to see him become a legendary artist and get the recognition he deserves.
How did you discover the collections of pieces from Fan Bits?
So funny story – I was actually meant to be doing my taxes yesterday but kept scrolling twitter as a way to procrastinate. I don’t remember the tweet but someone mentioned XCOPY, and I felt like procrastinating some more so I decided to look up what CryptoStrikers cards he still owned. I pulled up his profile and he had none, so I started diffing through his token transfers on Etherscan to try to understand where those cards went. I started at the last page of his history, and right after some of his OG SuperRare mints, I saw a bunch of mints for something called Fan Bits.
I did a little bit of digging and then I remembered that Fan Bits was a platform that let creators launch their own tokens easily, and was a spin-off from the Rare Bits guys (an OpenSea competitor at the time – I knew them from the CryptoStrikers days).
So then it was just a matter of figuring out:
Are these pieces still for sale? Or did they all sell out in 2018?
If so, how do I get them out of the Fan Bits smart contract given that there’s no longer a UI, and the smart contract is unverified (luckily I have experience with this)
Turns out 99 of the 100 were still on sale for 0.069 ETH each, with the last token being returned to XCOPY’s wallet because he canceled the auction for it. I can do a technical deep dive on this at some point, but basically, I just wrote a script to buy all 99 pieces and it worked on the first try.
What do you plan on doing with them?
Not sure really. I’ve had a lot of inbound so far, but I definitely want to talk to XCOPY first and get the backstory on them. And then I’ll re-evaluate based on what his wishes are, etc.
Most of the pieces don’t have metadata – hoping either XCOPY or the Rare/Fan Bits guys can provide that. I’d then be able to create a wrapper contract that points to the correct metadata, makes the tokens more compliant with modern ERC721 standards, etc. It’s what I did with CryptoStrikers -> Wrapped Strikers.
Did you ever find out what he did with the CryptoStrikers?
Ya, he sold them haha. RIP. In like a bulk trade.
All On the Record
Back in March of 2018, Fan Bits was first introduced as a spinoff of Rare Bits, an early NFT marketplace that is now linked to CoinGecko. It doesn’t sound like it was a big success. Their last tweet was a retweet six months after their inception. Their account only had a little over 300 followers, but XCOPY just happens to be one of them. We verified the transactions and the Discord interaction between XCOPY and the Rare Bits admin. The images themselves are currently lost unless the metadata can be recovered.
Let this be a further reminder that if it’s on the blockchain it exists forever. Even when the website hosting goes defunct, the smart contract lives on. There were two works that were recoverable, Fan Bits #370 and Fan Bits #372. These were not minted by XCOPY’s verified wallet, but they are labeled his and they do fit his style. Gianni suspects it’s due to OpenSea having cached those two. He picked them up just in case. Probably a wise choice.